Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let go and let God

I have been awake for about 32 hours now, so I'm not sure how much sense this post will make. I know that I  have to try to put into words the emotions I felt this morning as I witnessed a life end in front of me. I have been a  nurse for over 2 years now. I have been fortunate to not have to deal with patients dying often on my shift. I have however helped out other nurses who have patients pass away. It happens that this was not my patient and not even a lady I could have pointed out in a line up if required; but was familiar with the name and the fact that she is a Resident at our Long Term Care Facility. Her end of life story in my words ends as follows.

Her sister was there with her at her bedside, determined that she wouldn't die alone like so many in nursing homes do. Her husband, who is also a resident, was across the hall in his room worrying not for his own failing health; but that of his beloved wife of so many years. Her sister calmly asked throughout the night was her breathing normal, (no it wasn't.) She asked if she was on Hospice. (No she wasn't, yet.) She came out in the hall to tell the nurse "I think she's gone." I accompanied the nurse into the room with the Dynamap. No vital signs were registering. I put my stethoscope to her chest, and at the cold sensation, she took a breath and slowly breathed her last. I left my stethoscope over her heart listening to her heart as it  began to slow until it beat no more. It is a feeling I am unable to properly put into words exactly how it felt to watch as another human being took her last breath and listened with my ears as her heart stopped beating. I am a firm believer of God and that life and death are both miracles in and of themselves. I have witnessed childbirth by others and delivered 3 of my own. It is nothing other than a miracle how something that starts in a moment of passion can come into this world kicking and screaming and be a work of art designed by no one less than God. I learned this morning that the end of life is just as miraculous when God calls one of his own home once their journey on Earth is complete. I have never been fascinated with the process of death and do not think it is something that I will ever completely become comfortable seeing. It is heartwrenching to be the one to call the family to come to the nursing home and not be able to tell them what is going on until they get there. It is even more painful to meet that family in the lobby as they rush in to see Mother one more time before she goes, to break the news that she is already gone. I have been blessed with being able to let families know in such a manner that they are comforted in their immense time of grief; if that is even plausible. I remember my mother being the one to call me and simply state, "He's gone." when my beloved Daddy passed away. She is a no-nonsense type person and that must be where I get my no BS mentality. However; there is just never a good way to tell someone that the people they have loved and known their entire lives are no longer here anymore. It is during the many times I have broken the news and comforted families that I realized--we need the dying more than they need us. These are the people that have been the rock for our foundations for so long we don't know where to turn. These are the people that have loved and comforted us in countless times of grief from the smallest of boo-boos to the largest of heart aches. Who will comfort us now in our time of need? Who will be the rock for us to lean on and lead us in the right direction in life? Who will love us now? The answer is simple; we just aren't ready to accept what God is telling us. It is our time to lead. Our loved ones have done their work as God intended them to do. He is ready for us to take on life on our on. Countless Seniors have passed on these words at times when we didn't want to accept what they have to say--God will never put more on us than we can bear. No one has ever died from the load on their shoulders being too heavy.

I have typed many words here tonight,  yet I still am unable to say what it is that I felt at the moment I heard her last heartbeat. I do know that it is a feeling that changed me and how I perceive death. I was somehow comforted by none other than God. I finally learned tonight a phrase I have used myself countless times, but until today didn't fully understand....Let go and let God.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back in the groove of things

Well I finally got used to working on my new hall. I have learned to absolutely LOVE it! My new patients are so quiet and content, I just don't know how to act! I am finally used to their meds now and med pass goes smoothly for me. I am learning to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things instead of being so stuck in my routine both professionally and personally. I went shopping alone last week for the first time. It was nice to get out of the house without any kids. It was strange and I had some guilt over it; but I soon got over that!  Our administrator recognized me at our last faculty meeting--for commenting on an article. In his own words "he missed the boat on that one." My friends made fun of me for correcting him on the fact that I wrote the article. But if I'm gonna be recognized at least it can be for the right thing!

This is my weekend off and so far I am enjoying it! Today I have plans of doing nothing and taking all day to do it! I did take pleasure in going outside with the kids and watching them clean the yard and cut the grass around the house so I can use the riding mower on it later when I am ready to get out of the house again. A friend of mine remarked that I shouldn't have to cut the grass with 6 boys and a husband, but I had to clarify that only one that fits on a riding mower at  a time so it is peaceful for me. Plus I know it gets done right. I have seen the handy work of the kids cutting grass and it's not a pretty thing. I am thinking I will go do some grocery shopping and cook something I want to eat today. Since my daughter has been doing most of the cooking after I leave for work; I have been eating a lot of Subway salads.  It will be nice to eat some real food for a change! Well I hope the week goes well for you and me both!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting ready for the weekend at work

I am so excited that I was published again in Scrubs Magazine. Here is the link:

It is my weekend to work again. I am looking forward to it because it gives me 3 days in a row of getting better acquainted with my new hall. I think I should have it down pat by the end of the weekend. The kids were excited to get their soccer uniforms yesterday. It made the 3 year old actually play the whole time! I will add pics later. Everyone should get to see how cute my baby of 7 is! He is still pure evil, but at times (esp. when he is sleeping) he is the most adorable angel in the world! My husband is down for the count with a sinus infection. He broke down and took a night off from work and went to see the doctor this morning. He is currently laid out on the couch because he had to get two shots. He thinks he is dying. I try to assure him that as a nurse, I feel quite sure that he is going to make it, to which he replies, "You are supposed to make me feel better. You are a nurse. Why don't you treat me like you do those old people at work?"  To which I reply I am! He just wants to be a drama queen when he's sick. Well, hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Soccer Mom

Well today is my day off so I get the pleasure of taking 4 of my boys and my oldest granddaughter to soccer today. It is their second game and I missed the first one on Tuesday. So I am excited about going. I plan to take the camera because the hubby isn't much of a photographer. Work has been going great since the hall change. I did work last night filling in on the other rotation and got to work my old hall. It was great to be back in comfortable territory where I know everyone and their meds! That was the earliest I have finished a med round in over a week! I know that by the end of this weekend I will have the new hall and their meds down pat and be able to speed up.  I did get to spend most of the morning at the doctor office after getting off work. Thank goodness for my phone with Facebook!!! I have a great phone, the HTC Hero, but I have yet to figure out how to use all the cool apps that can be downloaded to it. I am just happy to be able to go online and read Facebook and the gossip mags.

On a cooler note for me, is going to be publishing more of my humor lists. This one is for the CNA's. I hope ya'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Resident’s Perspective on CNA Training

I came across this blog today. I'm not sure how old it is, but it is definitely worth sharing! As a LPN in a SNF, we have all kinds of people working for us and some of the comments in this blog really rang true. Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what YOU think!

A Resident’s Perspective on CNA Training

Now, for me to vent a little. My patient care got called into question this morning. Needless to say it was not true, but that didn't make me feel any better. I personally think that my social skills with my patients is the top skill I possess followed by a close second to Pharmacology. So the longer I thought about it, (I have an hour drive home) the madder I became. I called back to work and talked to my DON who didn't really dismiss me, but basically said not to worry, if anything else came out of it she would talk to me in the morning when I get off work. That is 24 hours and a 12 hour shift from now. I have calmed down considerably, but I see now a major problem with the new hall change. That would be learning to work with new staff that doesn't know me and how I work. The people that have been working with me the past year would have NEVER tried to report this kind of garbage because they knew it wouldn't fly. So now comes the task of trying to look these two people in the eyes and let them know in the most professional way possible that I don't do drama and don't tolerate it from others around me either. I earned the title of being the "bitch" nurse on our rotation because from day one I didn't take bullshit from anyone and didn't accept poor work quality from those under me. Once they figured out that if they just did the job they are supposed to do, they have no problems out of me. Looks like I will have to go back into "bitch" mode once again for the new people working under me. I don't tolerate poor work quality and I don't tolerate people causing drama. If they have time to stand around and make up stories to tell then they aren't giving their patients the quality of care that Resident deserves. Now that I've said my piece maybe I will get some peace!

The weekend is over...

Well the weekend is now over and it's back to work for me. I am still enjoying the new hall, but am a little bit frustrated at myself that it is taking me so long to catch on to my new patients' meds. I don't recall being this slow to learn meds before. But I know that it will come eventually. I do have some follow up work to catch up on, such as the new higher spandex blend sheets that are supposed to be ordered. I hate that I won't be the one getting to do the research to see how good they are going to be for the patients with the fragile skin. I will just have to leave that in the hands of my girl, K.
I do recall something that happened last week with a trusted CNA that made me see red. We had a fill in nurse working with us that night that has technically worked here longer than me, but I had never met her till that night. (I've been here almost a year) Well, the CNA went and got the other nurse to come check on one of MY patients that night. I was there; just in another room. I totally lost my cool and proceeded to tell the CNA that unless it is life threatening to never but never go get another nurse to see about one of my patients. She should come to me first. I know she didn't take being scolded too well, but they are my patients under my care when I am here. And I do not want another nurse I have never laid eyes on treating them. Sorry, but if I don't know you and work with you, I don't trust you. I take caring for my patients very serious and only want them to have the best care possible. Now the nurses I work with, I trust completely with my life and my license. Their training spans from 30 years of being a LPN to just got licensed in January. But since I helped to train K., I know how she thinks and operates. But some chic that came in tonight that hasn't seen my patients in God knows when? Not so much trust there I'm afraid.
I also checked out my TEN WAYS YOU KNOW YOU'RE A LPN on today. I was very disheartened to see what were obviously CNA's and nurses bashing each other. That's not what me or my writing is about. I fully believe in the concept of teamwork and so does the SNF where I work. Having been a CNA and being a LPN with no desire to upgrade anytime soon, I know it takes all of us pulling our own weight to make it happen. Our residents are very happy living here and it is due to the positive attitudes around here. I hope that helps to clarify for those that commented. The SNF is just not going to be the environment people want to live in without the concept that it takes all of us to make it work. Well, I'm off for now. I hope you have a great day, I know I plan to!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The weekend off!

I am so excited to have a weekend off! I also found out today that Scrubs Magazine published some of my work! You can see it by following this link:  My weekend has started off great so far. I took my granny to her last physical therapy appointment following a pelvic fracture a while back. Then I got to take her to the Piggly Wiggly. It's been a while since I was in there. Sorry, but I prefer  Wal-Mart for the convenience and price. :( 

Well, I have just about worried myself sick over stressing about changing halls at work. I started Wednesday night and last night; and let me tell you; I was stressing for nothing! I am enjoying the change so much! It is almost like a vacation it is so much easier on the new hall! I guess I was so used to my hall and the demands from my patients that it didn't seem hard. But since the change, I am enjoying getting familiar with the new patients and CNA's. It does make me feel great that my patients are letting the nurse know that "she has some big shoes to fill working behind Rachael". I miss them already!

Another thing I am excited about is that I talked to our Administrator about trying out some new sheets that have a higher Spandex content in them to prevent coming off the mattress and wrinkling. With so many residents with fragile skin and bedbound; we are always looking for new ways to help prevent skin breakdowns. I am thankful to work in a facility where the Administration is willing to try new things. I am learning from the hall change that being open minded can be a good thing!

I am planning on taking the kids to the zoo in the morning. We plan to meet some friends over there so the kids can visit and the adults can catch up with one another. It's always great to actually SEE friends instead of just chatting via text or Facebook.
 However; the last time we saw these friends it was on a camping trip. It didn't work out so well. They have 1 child; so we're still having our doubts if they qualify as parents or not haha! We have 7 kids and two grandchildren living at home with us; so camping is an adventure. It is actual camping in a tent; not an RV. My husband is an Eagle Scout, so we always follow the rules about camping and tying knots and fires and cleaning. We I say we, I mean I sit in a chair and watch them pitch the tent and build the fire and clean up before we leave. I tell them I earned that right by being born a girl. Although; thanks to having 6 boys, I have learned to pitch a 3 room tent in the dark very well. Camping out in the backyard is a common occurrence for our kids.

Well, I am off to start my weekend now that the bus has ran and the kids have piled in the house and the peace and quiet is officially over for this long weekend. Have a great weekend, I know I plan to!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time for work again!

It has been a great two days off! I am excited and nervous to go back to work tonight to see how the rotation is going to go. I am thankful that at least the crew I work with gets along great and we know we will have each others backs and be available for any questions. I did find out another one of my patients passed away on Monday, so that was heartbreaking. I am still very nervous for when a patient actually passes away while I'm at work. That will be a first for me.

   I was looking forward to lounging around the pool at my mother-in-law's house on my days off; but between sleep and the rain it didn't happen. I did get around to visiting my the grandparents. They had gotten used to me not working for the longest and calling and visiting almost daily, so I feel like I am neglecting them these days. Working at a nursing home really makes you appreciate your own grandparents. It is truly sad to see how many of the Residents either don't have local family or don't have family at all. That is one of the rewards of working there is knowing that your smile and being friendly can truly make someones day. I believe in smiling, which my friends will attest to! My husband on the other hand only sees "mom me" and wishes I were friendlier at home lol!

  Well, it is time to get the kids that aren't in school yet rounded up and do some grocery shopping for tonight while I am at work. You would be amazed at how there is "nothing to eat around here" when Mom isn't here to cook for them! Hope you have a great day--I know I plan to!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Days off are awesome!!

Well, the work weekend went great. Unfortunately, my patient that was barely hanging in there passed away the day before I went to work this weekend. I was pretty upset; I have had the same med cart for almost 8 months so I have gotten quite attached to my Residents. We still are planning on changing halls when I return on the first of the month; so that is bringing a lot a nervousness to all of us. We have to learn all the patients all over again and earn their trust. But, we love what we do, which is a rare find in my profession, so life will go on.
Soccer practice went good on Monday, the baby actually practiced for a change. The other kids did well. My youngest grand child is trying to learn to crawl so that is exciting at home. Also of note on my personal stuff is that Scrub's Magazine has accepted my writing to publish!! I am super excited about this. As of right now it is only a Top Ten list; but it is a foot in the door for me and I am ecstatic!!! I can't wait to see my stuff in print!
Well, supper time does not wait for my children, so I will catch you up later on how things are going! Have a great week, I know I plan to!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

let the weekend (at work) begin

The weekend has begun! There is some joy to be found working nights on the weekend. Shall we count the ways? 1. No worries about State coming in for a few days, 2. Fewer chiefs running around, 3. Family members come to visit so happier patients equals happier nurses.4. No Drs making rounds so fewer orders to note. Starting to get my drift? No one likes to work the weekend but we might as well make the most out of it!
So I am nervous about next week. The D.O.Ns have decided it would be in the best interest of the patients to swap halls every 3 months. So all my patients I have worked so hard these last 8 months earning trust and establishing rapport with will get a new nurse and the process will start all over again. I did come up with the idea to write down my patients likes and dislikes, as well as things as simple as who wants a straw and who doesn't. Hopefully this will be reciprocated by the nurse whose hall I will be taking over. Since this is for the best interest of the Residents, then I think instead of complaining how much we dont like the idea should turn into helping make the transition as painless as possible for all involved. And who doesn't like being looked at like Super Nurse because we already can anticipate the patients needs and preferences?
Well, I will give the update on that as it happens. Hope you have a great weekend too!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Time to catch up a little

Well, let's see if I can catch up from last week's post. I had an absolutely wonderful weekend off from work sitting at home doing, well, nothing. It is hard to do much more than relax with all these kids at home. Let's see; there is the 22-year old that moved back home with her hubby and 2 kids; then there is the 16-year old boy who doesn't like me to even tag him in photos on Facebook anymore. And we can't forget the 13-year old that is actually staying out of trouble so far this school year. Then comes the 11 year old and the 8-year old twins that have just started soccer this week twice a week. Which brings us the 3-year old a.k.a. The Spawn of Satan lol! He thinks he is ruler of the domain around here; and with two parents that work the night shift and his oldest sister babysitting during the day, his title is well earned. Did I mention all but the oldest are boys? No cheerleading and gymnastics for this soccer mom!
Well, now that we are caught up on home life, I will try to catch you up with work now. Monday brought me back to reality with my two sick patients that are in the same room. One is still hanging in there; only Lord knows how; and the other is doing her best to die first. Don't think older people don't have ways to be jealous of each other because they do! I got to train the new nurse the other night. That was interesting to say the least. As all LPN's know, we all have to find our own groove so to speak when it comes to doing our Med Pass; and I happen to be one of those nurses with OCD, so I kept catching him making faces behind my back. So hope me if we hadn't gone to nursing school together he would have caught hell from me! I don't think I have a severe case of OCD when it comes to work; I just happen to think there are two ways to do Med Pass--my way and the wrong way! So as you can imagine; he didn't fare too well following me. We did have our monthly mandatory meeting that I thought was last week. (I made it!) We had guest speakers talking about TB and Hep B. Fascinating, I know. Well, it is time for the weekend of work to start, so I will catch up with the details later.
Have a great one!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The joys of night shift

Just woke up and had a panic attack over “OMG! I forgot the mandatory monthly meeting again!” I had to call my best girl, A. , and get reassurance it is next Wednesday! However; we are having a mandantory meeting tomorrow over the insurance that I don’t have and don’t want. What fun!

Night nursing for LPN's: LPN's need a blog too!

Night nursing for LPN's: LPN's need a blog too!: "Hello fellow LPN’s! I have searched the web over and have not found many blogs from LPN’s; they are always from the RN’s! We are nurses to..."

LPN's need a blog too!

Hello fellow LPN’s! I have searched the web over and have not found many blogs from LPN’s; they are always from the RN’s! We are nurses too! And believe me; we work hard and worked hard in school to earn our degree as well; so I felt we needed a real blog that we could use to vent, brag, share stories (without any HIPAA violations of course) and thought “Why not me?”
So here I am, very lost of course, but here nonetheless. I hope to update as often as I can on fascinating aspects of being an LPN!